Solar panels can save hundreds of dollars every year on your electric bill, but can they also cost you thousands by damaging your roof? Though your roof is usually the smartest place to install solar panels, if you don’t take the proper precautions, you can do a lot more damage to your roof than the amount of money you will save.
If you’re a homeowner that is considering installing solar, be sure to keep your roof in mind. Before hiring someone to install solar panels or attempting to do so yourself, bring your roofer into the project early on to collaborate with the installer. By having an initial inspection of your roof to ensure that your roof is in proper condition and that the work of installing a solar panel won’t make existing problems worse, you will save yourself big money in the long run.
Though you may feel your roof is adequate and ready for the project, your roofer is much more qualified to be the judge of that before you spend thousands installing solar on your home. The National Roofing Contractors recommends that a PV solar energy system is installed by a full-service integrator who’s educated in roofing, though it’s not mandatory. To ensure your family’s safety, not only have your roofer inspect the roof's condition, but also work with the installer to ensure that the flashing and weatherproofing is satisfactory, as well as ensuring that fire classifications for both roof and system match.
Discover and consider the load-carrying capacity is for your roof, framing and decking. On average, solar panels and the mounting equipment weigh around 2-4 pounds per square foot. For most new roofs, this is usually within the acceptable limits of the roof. It is important to consider not the full weight, but the distribution of the weight on the roof.
To minimize the risk of leaks, you need to minimize the number of mounting locations for the panels. In short, properly distribute the weight. If you have all the mounting locations on the bottom, then more weight and pressure is being put on the bottom slope of your roof; this can cause future problems.
Metal roofing systems can last upward of 30 years, as a solar power system can last upwards of 25 years. The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends considering the timing of both so that they go hand-in-hand. If you’re installing solar on a roof that is going to need completely replaced within the next 5 years, you’ll have to consider extra costs of removing and reinstalling your panels, which can be very costly.
If you’re looking for a solar installer, both the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners and the Solar Energy Industries Association list solar contractors state-by-state, but only the former certifies installers by specific, proven skills.
When it comes to your roof, the experts at Florida Roof Masters should be the first call if you run into complications. If installed correctly, solar panels should not cause any damage to your roof, but the roofer oversees ensuring your home it weather-tight and safe for your family.